A Brazilian plus-size model of Lebanese origin was prevented from boarding a Qatar Airways flight allegedly because she was “too fat”, as she could not sit in the economy class seat.
38-year-old Juliana Nehme, said in an Instagram post, who has 1,69,000 followers, that she was not allowed to board her flight from Beirut to Doha on November 22.
Nehme starts by saying that she had flown with Air France on her outward journey to Lebanon, with no problems.
“I came on an economy ticket and did not experience any embarrassment or harassment,” she said.
“I bought a return ticket to Brazil through Qatar and arriving at the time to check in, a Qatar flight attendant called my mother while another staffer was finishing our check-in, and told her I wasn’t welcome to board because I’m fat,” Nehme adds.
Nehme continues, Qatar staff would only let her board if she bought a business class ticket for $3,000. She says she had already paid $1,000 for her initial ticket, which staff did not offer to refund.
Nehme further adds, “I tried until the end to allow me to fly, since we were four people travelling together, and she REFUSED UNTIL THE END to sell me the ticket! I stayed for almost two hours begging to travel. My mum tried everything.”
Eventually her sister and nephew continued their home in São Paulo, while Naama and her mother remained “stuck in Lebanon”.
She also claims that one of the employees “pushed” her during the confrontation, saying, “I was threatened.”
“When I tried to record what they were doing, the girl at the counter pushed me and it didn’t help. I was extremely humiliated in front of all the people at the airport! All because I’m FAT! Shame on a company like Qatar to allow this type of DISCRIMINATION to people! I’m FAT But I’m JUST LIKE EVERYONE!”
“It’s not fair to buy my ticket and be HUMILIATED, THREATENED AND BARRED FROM FLYING!,” Nehme added.
A Qatar Airways spokesperson told Insider that Nehme became “extremely rude and aggressive” at check-in when someone else in her group failed to provide COVID documents needed to enter Brazil.
However, the spokesperson did note that passengers could be asked to purchase an extra seat if they cannot adequately fit one.
In a series of videos shared later that day, Nehma thanked her followers for the outpouring of advice and support.
Nehma wrote in a post, “I thank you from the heart for all the affection and all the fight for a fairer world and without #prejudice and not even #fatphobia.”
“I am sharing it here so that you can share with me and help me. I look forward to the opportunity to come home,” she added.